March 23 2014
Washington Post Columnist: Play the Gender Card, Hillary
Chris Cillizza had a column in Sunday’s Washington Post on how Hillary Clinton “can correct the biggest mistake she made in 2008” in the presidential race of 2016.
And what might her biggest mistake of 2008 be? She didn’t play the gender card strongly enough. A recent Gallup poll indicates that merely being a woman may be her biggest strength for 2016. Cillizza notes that about one in five respondents (around 18 percent) told Gallup that Clinton’s “history-making status as the first woman to hold the country’s top job is what appeals to them most about her.”
Of what he regards as Clinton’s biggest mistake last time, Cillizza writes:
Faced with the historic candidacy of then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton could have matched history for history. But, she didn't.
The reasons why not remain legion although it seems quite clear from the after-action analysis that the most influential voices in Clinton's political circle seemed to believe that putting her gender at the forefront of the campaign would have endangered the sort of "ready on day one" argument that she was making. (Why they would conclude that is entirely beyond us.)
It was a stunningly big and bad mistake.
Gallup respondents rated Mrs. Clinton’s being a woman as twice as appealing as her second most attractive trait: "experience/foreign policy experience.”
I find this very sad. Hillary Clinton was a United States senator and secretary of state, and the thing that may catapult her into the nation’s highest office was a trait that was apparent before she emerged from her mother’s womb: being a woman.
I disagreed with the policies put forward by candidate Barack Obama, but I could understand that some voters voted for him because they felt electing him would right a historic wrong in our American past. But—really—is the presidency henceforward to go to somebody because she represents a demographic group that claims victim status (even though this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for women)? Should the presidency now be routinely parceled out on a purely demographic basis?
As for Hillary Clinton’s demographic group—women—Democrats propose getting their votes with the promise of ever increasing government, something that harms the prospects of women and men alike, as should be clear from the last five years of a stalled economy that does not create opportunites to enter or remain in the middle class.
President Obama was at a community college in Florida last week claiming that he offers women paths of advancement. What he really offers is more government in return for their voting to keep government in the hands of his party, which in the last five years has proven just how disastrous its economic policies have proven to both women and men.
The Democrats do not scruple at turning segments of the population into wholly owned subsidiaries of the federal government—just as long as they can get votes for doing this. That Hillary Clinton’s supporters find the mere fact of her being a woman more important than how she did the job of secretary of state (badly) is depressing.
And here is what is going to be particularly depressing about 2016 (assuming, as is almost certain, that Mrs. Clinton runs): everytime anybody brings up a serious issue that doesn't cut Mrs. Clinton's way, there will a cry of "sexism." So this is the current level of political discourse in the world's oldest democracy.